Being exposed to harmful lung irritants for a long period of time or even being a former smoker can put you at risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, better known as COPD. COPD reduces lung functions making it hard to breathe and worsens over time.
COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States according to the American Lung Association. Although there is no known cure for COPD, it is preventable and treatable. The simplest and most common form of testing for COPD is the Spirometry. This very low risk breathing test measures how well your lungs are working by breathing in and out of a tube. Many adults are incorrectly diagnosed with asthma, so make sure to ask questions and be honest with your physician. Proper diagnosis means you will receive the proper treatments and follow up monitoring.
You should contact your doctor and be tested if you are experiencing:
- Worsening shortness of breath
- Chronic coughing with and without sputum
- History of smoking (current or former)
- Exposed to air pollutants, 2nd hand smoke
COPD is often not detected until it is in the moderate stage. It is important for you to recognize these signs and discuss them with your doctor.